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Kagame urges review of social protection systems

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President Paul Kagame has called for a review and adjustment of social protection systems to fill gaps that have been revealed by the covid-19 crisis and its effects.

Kagame was speaking on Monday, January 25, in a virtual panel session as part of the Davos Agenda 2021 forum.

The session, themed around advancing a new social contract, examined responses that are likely to be most effective as well as features of emerging new social contracts between governments, business and citizens.

Kagame said that the pandemic and its socioeconomic effects have exposed gaps in the existing social protection systems across the world.

“This crisis has revealed gaps in the existing social protection systems everywhere in the world,” he said. “The pandemic has also reminded us of how we are interlinked and interdependent in many ways.”

The pandemic, the President noted, had also brought to surface challenges that were previously known but had not been addressed.

Social protection systems have further been stressed by the reduction of expenditure as well as the erosion of labour protection, he said.

These and other emerging challenges, Kagame explained, require solutions to improve society’s resilience to future crises.

The Head of State said that, without adequate social protection, existing inequalities will only grow wider and degrade working conditions for some.

Explaining that, like elsewhere across the world, the pandemic had negatively affected Rwanda’s workforce and labour market, Kagame shared approaches that the country was using to alleviate the challenges.

Among other interventions, he cited the Rwf100 million Economic Recovery Fund set up to help businesses recover and eventually lead to the retention of employees.

President Kagame added that the country had also used some of its agriculture stock to avail food for communities whose income had been disrupted and paid health insurance for about two million citizens.

The session was held at a time when nearly half of the 3.3 billion global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods.

Other panellists included Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Coca-Cola Chairman and chief executive James Quincey, and International Trade Union Confederation Secretary-General Sharan Burrow. Others included World Economic Forum Geneva Managing Director Saadia Zahidi, AARP chief executive Jo Ann Jenkins, and Centre for the Fifth Social Revolution’s Social Entrepreneur Hilary Cottam.

The Davos Agenda brings together some of the world’s top academics and politicians, as well as business, youth, and civil society leaders with view to highlighting and engaging in addressing the most pressing issues on the global agenda.

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